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Report: Chris Ballard planning for 2017 season with Chuck Pagano

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest lingering question regarding the Colts has been answered: Chris Ballard is their new general manager.

The next question then logically becomes: who’s going to be their head coach?

By all indications right now, it’ll be Chuck Pagano coaching the team in 2017. Jim Irsay said as much last week, and Pagano even hired a new member of his coaching staff during the week. So it appears as if Pagano will be staying, but a big-name GM like Ballard would obviously want his own guy, so it’d be a question of whether he’d get to bring in his own guy right away or not.

It again sounds like he’ll be sticking with Chuck Pagano. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said that Ballard “is planning for ‘17 with coach Chuck Pagano as we speak.”

That’s obviously far from an ideal situation from the Colts, as it would essentially create a massive lame duck season for Pagano in 2017. The message: either exceed all expectations or be fired so that the GM can bring in his own guy. That’s a lot to ask for him, so in some ways it would put the Colts a year behind in their “rebuild.” Hopefully we’ll get confirmation one way or the other tomorrow from Ballard, but it sounds like he’ll be keeping Pagano around.

Though that’s not ideal, make no mistake: the Colts have improved. They haven’t completely gotten rid of the problem, but they made a really good start by replacing Ryan Grigson in favor of Chris Ballard. So while Colts fans (understandably) won’t like Chuck Pagano coming back, the Colts still made a terrific GM hire that should help them no matter who the coach is.